School operations

Mental Health Practitioners initiative

Recruiting a mental health practitioner

Qualifications and registration requirements

Mental health practitioners (MHPs) must:

  • hold a Bachelor qualification or specialist/post graduate qualification (where applicable) in one of the following disciplines:
    • nursing with a specialisation in mental health
    • occupational therapy
    • psychology
    • social work
    • counsellor of a prescribed class
  • for fully qualified nursing, occupational therapy and psychology applicants, hold full registration with the Australian Health Practitioners Regulation Agency
  • for fully qualified social work applicants, be eligible for membership with the Australian Association of Social Workers
  • for qualified counsellor applicants, have completed a Bachelor of Counselling or a Master of Counselling and be a practicing/fully qualified member of the Australian Counselling Association (ACA) or the Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia (PACFA)
  • have demonstrated direct counselling experience
  • hold a current Working with Children Clearance and meet the requirements of all other suitability for employment checks – refer to Suitability for Employment Checks.

The MHP qualifications checklist (DOCX)External Link outlines the full list of minimum requirements and desirable characteristics for each profession.

Schools are responsible for ensuring that MHPs maintain current full (that is, not student or provisional) registration during their employment tenure. This includes annual registration checks to ensure the currency of MHP’s registration status.

School mental health and wellbeing needs

Schools are strongly encouraged to advertise broadly for a MHP, across all 5 discipline areas (mental health nurses, occupational therapists, psychologists, social workers, counsellors of a prescribed class) to broaden the pool of applicants from which to select. Refer to the Resources tab for the MHP position description, recruitment template and other supports.

Recruitment documentation

Schools are required to use the standard MHP position description which outlines the core requirements of the role. The position description template is available on the Recruitment OnlineExternal Link platform. When creating a job posting, schools are required to select option ‘9 – Mental Health Practitioner’ for Selection Criteria, Role, Responsibilities, and Who May Apply. Schools must also include their school context in the position description, ensure the employment status reads ‘Ongoing’ and select ‘Mental Health Practitioner’ under role type, making the posting visible to applicants searching for MHP vacancies.

To read more on advertising, recruiting and attraction strategies, refer to the Recruitment advice (DOCX)External Link (staff login required).

Selection panel

Schools are strongly encouraged to include a regional mental health coordinator (MHC) on their interview panels for MHP recruitment. At least one panel representative should have in-depth knowledge or experience in the mental health field.

Recruitment support for schools

MHP initiative central team:

Recruitment online and schools recruitment support:

Schools can also contact their regional MHC for support with MHP recruitment.

Includes information on qualifications and registration requirements, recruitment documentation, selection panels and recruitment support

Reviewed 30 January 2024

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